VIDEO: Courage for America Bus Tour, State Rep. Ager, and Local Advocates Demand Rep. Edwards “Back Off Our Benefits” in Asheville

Advocates Ramp Up Pressure on MAGA Republicans Ahead of McCarthy’s 100th Day
Photos, Audio, and Tour Information Available in Our Press Kit
(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)

ASHEVILLE, NC — Today, as part of its nationwide “Back Off Our Benefits” bus tour, Courage for America joined local advocates to demand that Representative Chuck Edwards (NC-11) promise his constituents that he will not cut essential programs that Americans rely on ahead of the looming default deadline — including Social Security, Medicare, SNAP and veterans’ benefits.

Constituents of Rep. Edwards, including North Carolina state Representative Eric Ager (HD-114), joined Courage for America, NC Black Alliance, Advance NC, and Common Cause to highlight how MAGA lawmakers’ political games are pushing the country towards a default crisis at the expense of American seniors, veterans, and children.

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(All images free for use with credit to Courage for America)




State Representative Eric Ager (HD-114) joins Courage for America to call on Rep. Edwards to “Back Off Our Benefits” (credit: Courage for America)


Here’s what speakers had to say about MAGA lawmakers’ extreme agenda:

Laura Packard, a Courage for America spokesperson and executive director of Health Care Voter:

  • “We’re calling on extreme members of the Republican House majority, including Rep. Chuck Edwards here in Asheville, to sign a promise [that] they must protect the essential benefits Americans rely on and stop playing political games with the default crisis.”
  • “House Republicans, including Rep. Edwards, are risking a major global economic crisis to make some kind of a political point. So we’re here to ask Rep. Edwards a final time to promise his constituents that he’ll back off our hard-earned benefits and stop playing politics with our lives.”

State Representative Eric Ager (HD-114):

  • “We need to show that democracy works, that democracy takes care of the people. […] Our Congress is not listening to the people, it’s not focused on taking care of us as everyday people.”
  • “It’s clear that […] the current leadership’s priorities are not aligned with those of most Americans. As we approach the 100th day of McCarthy’s tenure as Speaker, we really have to speak out [..] to make sure that they’re doing the work necessary to ensure American success. I call on our representative Chuck Edwards to push back against this effort in the House to take our country to the brink of default and risk an economic crisis, really just to score some petty political points.”

Moises Montalvo, a U.S. Army veteran and Common Defense member:

  • “I’m here today to emphasize the importance of protecting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and our veterans’ benefits. These are lifelines supporting millions of American families every day, including my own family.”
  • “Start standing up and protecting these benefits for everyone because, I don’t know about you, but I think it’d be a better country if everybody had it a little bit easier and was actually able to thrive.”

Leslie Boyd, health care activist:

  • “That’s our money you’re playing with, and we do not approve. You are hired to represent us and our interests, not the interests of big money. Do your job, Chuck.”

Sally Weldon, a NC-11 constituent:

  • “Mr. Edwards, who is not here, I’m speaking to you. […] Start by not putting existing programs like Social Security, Medicare, SNAP, and Medicaid in jeopardy. […] We need you to make a simple promise to protect our hard-earned benefits, and to stop playing politics with our lives. Signing the agreement is offering your support for your constituents. It’s the right thing to do.”

Sue Hammer, a retiree who receives Social Security benefits:

  • “Should we be concerned about our lawmakers taking away our benefits? Absolutely. […] But this isn’t something that should be a political issue—it’s not about Party. It’s a basic human right to be offered health care and to live without the constant worry whether we’ll be able to receive a guaranteed income we need to have the quality of life we all deserve.”